Standard 8 update

Big news from Standard 8!

I thought you might like to see some of my friends in Standard 8. We took this picture after a revision class last Saturday morning. We had begun at 8 am and finished at 10:30am. A long morning for the girls!

I wish I could tell you the stories about Gloria who always scores top of her class while at the same time nursing her fellow pupils through their illnesses, about Stella who as soon as she gets a result of an exam runs straight to Sister Susan to share her news – just as I ran to my Grandad when I was her age, about Mekhides who came to Narus from Ethopia two years ago with no English who is now consistently in the top three in her class, about Rose who is so full of fun and love.

The girls sat their mock exams last week. Students from Comboni boys school, Lolim and Newcush joined us in our dining hall to sit the exams. There were four exams, Maths, English, Science and a combined exam for CRE and Social Studies.

And my word did those girls perform! The English paper came first on the Monday morning. In the afternoon was Science. The panel began correcting the English papers for the 95 students during the next exam. But…apparently our Standard 8 girls performed too well and were accused of having cheated. The head teacher of Lolim accused us of having shared the paper with the girls and said that he had heard it was for sale in the Dinka market.

What utter rubbish. The most obvious response would have been to tell the guy to sober up (he had been drunk for most of the day) and ignore him but instead the inspector was called and a two hour meeting took place on the next morning while I invigilated my own maths exam. The girls results in the mocks (with the possible exception of maths) were consistent with their mid term and end of term exams. They work so very hard and Aguer, their English teacher seems to spend endless hours with them.

And then maths. I haven’t yet seen the maths results in their entirety but what I do know is that we are the top school in Kapoeta East after this exam. There were quite a few girls who scored in excess of 85% which I think is incredible. The top score was 92% and the girl is disappointed. She normally scores in the very high nineties.

I will admit though that there was just one that desperately mattered to me and that was Christine Peter. She is a very quiet and shy girl. She works hard but finds maths a challenge. She was always around and about the 40% mark. Her sister Josephine is in Bakhita Secondary and from is a gifted student. Her younger sister Regina is in Standard 7 in Bakhita primary. Christine came to me and asked for help with Algebra. We had extra classes every Saturday morning so we used those classes to work together on Algebra.

I subsequently realised that not only was Christine taking extra classes with me but also with a teacher called Karragache who teaches maths in the younger classes too. When I realised that the papers had been corrected, I went immediately to look through them. As excited as I was to see the other results, I really just wanted to see Christine’s result – a mind blowing 87%! Can you believe it? I was so excited and so happy for her. I texted Fr. Tim immediately to share the news through my tears!

Seeing her this weekend and seeing how happy and how proud she was, that’s a feeling that will stay with me. Her fellow students seemed equally happy for her. She was so excited to tell me, I gave her the biggest hug!

Through my education I was lucky to have teachers who cared about me, more than I can name but they included Miss Caroline Griffin and Master Pat Callaghan in primary school and in secondary school Maura Curtin, Bat Wrenn, Marian Madigan, Joe Keeffe and Marian Horgan. All gave me extra classes and endless amounts of their time and energy for which I have always been grateful. I would hope that I made them as proud as I was of Christine.

Maybe in years to come, Christine will write a blog on some adventure of hers and remember that Irish woman who came for a few months and cared about her.

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6 Comments on “Standard 8 update

  1. Fantastic reports Helena and delighted for you and your pupils. Will miss the reports on life in South Sudan. Safe home to London and good luck with the new job – hope you won’t find it too difficult to settle after such a wonderful “sabbatical”.

    • Thank you Peig. London still feels like a lifetime away. I leave for Lokichoggio in Kenya on Monday and fly from Loki to Nairobi on Tuesday. In Loki i will stay with a lovely priest from Limerick named Fr. Tom Laffan who has been tasked with getting me to the air strip on time! I have a few days in Nairobi with Fr.Tim and my friend Jo before returning to London on the following Sunday night. So, all in all, it will still be another two weeks before I’m back to real life 🙂

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